The MayPole At Merry Mount Essay Research — страница 3

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and dancing about it many days to-gether, inviting the Indian women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking together, (like so many fairies, or furies rather) and worse practices. As if they had anew revived and cele-brated the feasts of the Roman Goddes Flora, or the beastly practieses of the madd Bacchinalians. Morton likewise (to shew his poetrie) composed sundry rimes and verses, some tending to lasciviousnes, and others to the detraction and scan-dall of some persons, which he affixed to this idle or idoll May-polle.” This gambol on the green brought matters to a head with a vengeance. Although, as Adams says, it would not have been sufficient in itself to have caused the Puritan Elders to take action had there not been the graver matter of the sale of firearms behind it

yet it was the direct cause of Miles Standish going with eight men to arrest Morton. He was taken, his plantation destroyed, after the good, round for-mula: “to please the Indians” and he himself put in the stocks, where the Indians came to look at him very much in amazement to know what it was all about. Morton was scandalously maltreated while in the care of his captors and, due to their failure to provide food, he nearly died on the vessel which transported him back to England for trial. But as Adams smilingly remarks, had it been later in our history and on a more westerly frontier, they would just have shot him. In England, an acquaintance of Ben Jonson and others at The Mermaid, Morton wrote his book. It was no great literary feat. It is, in a great measure, trivial and

obscure, but as a piece from American History it has its savor which Adams dulls rather than heightens—which is too bad. It seems impossible for Adams to get clearly in mind what Morton means when he expostulates “this harmless mirth by younge men (that lived in hope to have wifes brought over to them, that would save them a laboure to make a voyage to fetch any over) was much distasted by the precise Separatists “those moles. . . But marriage and hanging, (they say) comes by destiny and Scogan’s choice, tis better (than) none at all. He that played Proteus (with the help of Priapus) put heir noses out of joynt, as the Proverb is ” Or: as Scogan, (famous court buffoon attached to the household of Edward IV) ordered to be hanged, but allowed the privilege of choosing the

tree, escaped hanging by being unable to find a tree to his liking trying many; so Morton and his men, awaiting wives from England, escaped marriage by varying (Proteus) among (Priapus) the Indian girls they took to bed with them. This in its simplicity the Puritans lacked spirit to explain. But spiritless, thus without grounds on which to rest their judgments of this world, fearing to touch its bounties, a fis-sure takes place for the natural mouth and everything’s per-verse to them. Forced by Morton’s peccadillo they countered with fantastic violence and some duplicity having the trade in beaver skins in view. Then their own true perversions enter in; for “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” As Morton laid his hands, roughly perhaps but lovingly, upon the flesh of his

Indian consorts, so the Puritans laid theirs with malice, with envy, insanely, not only upon him, but also one thing leading to another uponthe unoffending Quakers. Trustless of humane experience, not knowing what to think, they went mad, lost all direction. Mather defends the witchcraft persecutions.